Mother Nature and Father Time are two factors that generally do not run concurrent with the athletic performance and physiological nature of humans. That is, both Mother Nature and Father Time take their toll on the human body, performance of land-based athletes generally diminish as the years pass by.

But at least some open water swimmers seem to be the exception to the rule. These swimmers have found the Fountain of Youth and seem to turn back time.

As these open water swimmers age, they seem to get better. Not only are they better able to handle Mother Nature, they seem to be arm-wrestling Father Time to at least a standstill.

Swimmers like Ram Barkai and all the swimmers of the International Ice Swimming Association stare at the face of icy waters and swim faster and further than ever before as they increase their ability to acclimate to harsh conditions.

Swimmers like Barbara Held and Anne Cleveland who continue to push the envelope to what swimmers can do in the fourth and fifth decades of their lives. Men like Roger Allsopp and Mally Richards defy the normal course of nature with their bodies that seemingly do not give into the ravages of Father Time.

Look at the open water races throughout Oceania, Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas, and swimmers of all ages seem to get better and better. While Father Time ticks on, their ability to handle various kinds of elements improve. Ocean swells, strong currents, cold water, more jellyfish, relentless surface turbulence – all these dynamic elements are managed even better as open water swimmers age.

But it is true the exception proves the rule. We observe the growing pains, increased swellings, and diminishing range of motion of non-athletes and land-based athletes as time goes by, and compare it with the sustained stamina, strength, and flexibility of swimmers and wonder why more people do not take to the waterways of the world.

Stay wet, my friends.

Copyright © 2013 by Open Water Swimming